They (whoever they are) say it takes only 21 days to make a habit. I’ve lived a lot of 21-day periods, and thus have a lot of habits. Breaking them isn’t trivial. I just finished three days of teaching and noticed three habits I’d like to break. It’s usually when I’m trying to demonstrate effective techniques that I am made aware that I don’t have them all down pat myself.So what to do about it? First is awareness. My first reaction is embarassment and chagrin — how’d I get this habit(s) anyway? The temptation is to excuse it away and rationalize why it’s OK. People who get better don’t do that. So the challenge is to formulate a set of skills or exercises to eradicate said habit. Really, the goal is to replace it with another, better habit. In my case, I’ve got to learn to get rid of a phrase and just not say anything. I also must learn to pace and enunciate better. It’s silly to expect decades of habit to go away with a few days of awareness, but it’s a start towards better communication.

Become aware. Plan a change. Practice the plan. Repeat until…

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